Downtown Strikes Distribution, Promotion Deal

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Whatever kind of elusive street cred indie labels may pursue, it’s never without its fair share of hits and misses and often takes decades to earn a reputation in an industry all too familiar with cut-and-run contracts.

Whatever kind of elusive street cred indie labels may pursue, it’s never without its fair share of hits and misses and often takes decades to earn a reputation in an industry all too familiar with cut-and-run contracts. Downtown Records, on the other hand, has done just that in a matter of two years and look to continue their climb after a recent deal that would grant them wider distribution and golden-ticket promotion. Under an agreement with Interscope and their Universal affiliate Fontana, Downtown will be expanding their distribution efforts for acts such as Cold War Kids, Mos Def and MSTRKRFT, as well as talent under the banner of their three joint-ventures labels-Dim Mak, Fool’s Gold and Mercer Street Records-along with select marketing of future albums by Interscope. The deal is said to have put a total of $2.5 million in Downtown’s coffer over a three-year term-an amount execs say will be well worth the benefits from Downtown’s roster of upcoming releases. The first record to reap the benefits will be Cold War Kids’ Loyalty to Loyalty slated for a September 23 street date, with an eye on fourth-quarter releases from Eagles of Death Metal, Mos Def, Kid Sister and MSTRKRFT. The deal does not include, however, titles under Downtown Music Publishing that oversees big-ticket artists such as Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige and 50 Cent. Also, Gnarls Barkley and Kevin Michael will hold to their agreement under Atlantic Records, while Santogold, Justice and Brett Dennen will have continued distribution from Alternative Distribution Alliance, an offshoot of Warner Music.

Even with these exceptions, it’s more than assured that returns will be made from the deal, and those pesky Nielsen ratings will look a little less fickle as Downtown’s reach is given some welcome stretch.

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